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Accused told Gardai he didn't know why he kicked Dale Creighton in the head three times

CourtsBy Sunday World
Gerard Stevens
Gerard Stevens

One of seven Dubliners charged with murdering a man said he didn’t know why he had kicked a defenceless stranger in the head three times, adding that he ‘just got caught up’ with it.

A jury in their Central Criminal Court trial was today hearing evidence of garda interviews conducted with one of the accused, Gerard Stevens, who initially denied involvement.

Dale Creighton was assaulted on New Year’s Morning 2014 at the footbridge over the Tallaght bypass between Saint Dominic’s Road and Greenhills Road. The 20-year-old died in hospital the following day.

A woman and six men, who are in their 20s and from Tallaght, have all pleaded not guilty to murder.

They are 23-year-old Aisling Burke and 28-year-old David Burke, both with a current address at Beechpark, Collinstown, Co Westmeath; Graham Palmer (26) with a current address at Park Avenue, Portarlington, Co Laois; Ross Callery (23) currently of Brittas, Co Dublin; James Reid (26) currently of Glen Aoibhinn, Gorey, Co Wexford; Jason Beresford (23) with an address at Coill Diarmuida, Ard a’ Laoi, Castledermot, Co Kildare; and Gerard Stevens (27) currently of Grosvenor Square, Rathmines in Dublin.

Each accused also initially pleaded not guilty to violent disorder at the footbridge. However Jason Beresford later changed his plea and pleaded guilty to the violent disorder charge.

Garda Kieran Kilcoyne testified that he arrested Mr Stevens on the night of January 3rd that year and interviewed him a number of times the following day.

He gave evidence of Mr Stevens’ initial denials of involvement in what the accused agreed was a bloodbath of people beating a defenceless male on the ground. However, he was then shown CCTV footage of himself and others assaulting Mr Creighton on the footbridge.

“You kick him with your foot three times into the head area. Why?” he was asked.

“I don’t know,” he replied. “I can’t remember doing it.”

It was put to him that he had then leaned over and hit him with his fist and later slapped him on the back of the head.

“Why?” he was asked again.

“I don’t know,” he repeated.

He said he had gone up the steps of the bridge because he had seen people he knew up there.

He agreed that it was an unprovoked attack on a defenceless male, whom he had never met.

He was asked how he felt about it.

“Pretty sh*t,” he replied.

“I don’t know what to do with myself. I feel like a f**king scumbag,” he added later.

He said he wouldn’t intentionally hurt anyone, even an animal.

“I just got caught up with that,” he said.

He later positively identified himself as a person seen kicking the injured party, hitting him with his fist, and slapping him. He was asked if he had anything to say about it all.

“I’m sorry for what I’ve done. I shouldn’t have been there. You can see for yourself how long I’m there,” he said. “It was a moment of madness, a moment I’m going to regret for the rest of my life.”

Under cross examination by Michael Bowman SC, defending Mr Stevens, Gda Kilcoyne agreed that this accused had become upset watching the CCTV footage in interview.

“He’s seen wiping tears throughout,” suggested Mr Bowman.

“Yes, he became upset,” replied the garda.

He agreed that a doctor was called for him at one stage because Mr Stevens said his heart was racing and he and was concerned about his anxiety. Mr Bowman mentioned that his client hadn’t spent much time in school due to anxiety as a child.

Garda Kilcoyne also confirmed that ‘all other six parties’ were still visible on the CCTV footage when Mr Stevens left the scene.

“I’m aware he was on the flat of the bridge for one minute, 17 seconds, in total,” he said of Mr Stevens.

The jury had already heard from Garda Avril Sharpe, who arrested Aisling Burke in Tallaght village shortly after the fatal assault. She returned to the witness box yesterday and testified that Ms Burke was then detained and interviewed, but that nothing of probative value emerged.

Under cross examination by Brendan Grehan SC, defending Ms Burke, she confirmed that his client told her that she had been mugged half an hour before her arrest. The garda agreed that Ms Burke did not have a phone or handbag with her when she apprehended her.

Dr Haroon Khan testified that he was called to Tallaght Garda Station to examine Ms Burke that New Year’s Day.

“She told me she had been assaulted and got a kick to the face,” he said. “I saw redness on the left side of her cheek.”

He said he found no other injuries and certified her as fit for interview.

The trial continues before Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy and a jury of six men and six women.